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February 21, 2008
Obamamaniacs Cheer as Candidate Blows his nose
One wonders what his worshipful supporters might do when witnessing some other, more private bodily functions:
It's probably safe to say that you have arrived as a politician when your audience applauds when you blow your nose. But Karl Rove, one of the savviest and most successful political managers in history, thinks a turning point has been reached. He believes that Obama, stung by criticism by both McCain and Hillary Clinton, has taken the wraps off the substance of his candidacy and has revealed a pretty standard left wing agenda:
Yes, just a day before a debate in Texas, Sen. Barack Obama has a head cold. And about a half-hour into a speech here, the Illinois Democrat announced that he had to take a quick break. "Gotta blow my nose here for a second," Obama said.
Out came a Kleenex (or perhaps it was a hankie), and he wiped his nose. The near-capacity audience at the Reunion Arena, which his campaign said totaled 17,000, broke out in a slightly awkward applause.
Perhaps in response to criticisms that have been building in recent days, Mr. Obama pivoted Tuesday from his usual incantations. He dropped the pretense of being a candidate of inspiring but undescribed "post-partisan" change. Until now, Mr. Obama has been making appeals to the center, saying, for example, that we are not red or blue states, but the United States. No doubt Obama will have his fervent supporters with him regardless of what he says. But independents and centrists may very well be put off by Obama's liberalism - something McCain is counting on in order to be successful next November.
But in his Houston speech, he used the opportunity of 45 (long) minutes on national TV to advocate a distinctly non-centrist, even proudly left-wing, agenda. By doing so, he opened himself to new and damaging contrasts and lines of criticism. Mr. McCain can now question Mr. Obama's promise to change Washington by working across party lines. Mr. Obama hasn't worked across party lines since coming to town. Was he a member of the "Gang of 14" that tried to find common ground between the parties on judicial nominations? Was Mr. Obama part of the bipartisan leadership that tackled other thorny issues like energy, immigration or terrorist surveillance legislation? No. Mr. Obama has been one of the most dependably partisan votes in the Senate.